Based on the book with the same name, this massive documentary goes through all the stages of production on each "Friday the 13th" movie. From the 1980 classic up to the 2009 remake, it leaves most stones turned.
The "Friday the 13th" series has affected many of us - it was a huge part of the lives of most post-1980 horror children and the adults who took their loved ones out for a scary night at the theater. To many of us, me included, the greatness of the series has died down a bit. Going from frequent rewatches, it's now rare for it to even get moved from the collection, but I will never forget the good times I had with Jason and his mother (I'm glad most of you know what I'm talking about here, or that could be a weird thing to say). But fact is, the slasher genre tires you out, and the "Friday the 13th" movies were basically the most worn out. What this nearly 7h documentary does, above all else, was to awake a nice nostalgia.
The documentary goes through each and every entry in the 30 year long series (1980 - 2009, so far), even including the "spin off" TV series that kinda just shared the name. It goes from the initial idea stage and onto getting people together, the production, effects, and finally the aftermath (which focuses on how well it did). If you've seen the "Never Sleep Again" documentary by the same team, then you know what you'll get. Though I found this documentary to be superior to the one of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" series, because for the longest time the story behing the "Friday the 13th" series have been mysteries to me.
The greatest thing about this documentary (next to the nostalgia), was actually being able to appreciate the series in a different light. It made me realize why the first 4 movies still remain the most entertaining and interesting entries, and it also underlined why the latter lack in certain aspects (although part 7 always impressed the hell out of me with its very brutal, decomposed Jason Voorhees). Getting into the effects of the series was another pleasure, which went into what scenes were cut, how all the effects were done, and so on.
The people behind this and "Never Sleep Again" are really giving their all to show us everything we've always wanted to know. The stories behind the "Friday the 13th" movies surpass the ones behind the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" because most of the entries in the latter series consisted of people being hired and making a movie without even knowing what they want to do. It kinda shows in that series - many of them being hokey and stupid, while "Friday the 13th", even with a few strange parts, has more rewatchability.
For a nearly 7h long documentary, time really flew here. I have barely heard anything about the making of these before, beyond some of the Tom Savini stories told in his books. But much like the series itself, it gets more and more boring the further into the series you get. When it goes through the first four movies, it's quite a fantastic documentary. Parts 5 - 8 were interesting too, but with "Jason Goes to Hell", "Jason X", "Freddy vs. Jason" and the remake, I didn't really care at all. At most, I was curious how the idea for "Jason Goes to Hell" came about, but that's about it. The last parts of the documentary were hard to sit through because of that. That's entirely subjective, though, because I don't care for those parts of the series. It's just not interesting to hear endless moaning about Kane Hodder not being part of "Freddy vs. Jason" even if I agree that he did some of the better character acting. It's not very interesting as a documentary when it keeps going back to it. I certainly don't want to see anything about the remake, as I barely count it as part of that series. "Jason X" is just a ridiculous movie, so I could do without that too. Now, if you love those last movies then you might appreciate the end of the documentary, but for me 1 - 4 was the best part. Much like the series itself.
I think Corey Feldman did a good job as the narrator. Like in "Never Sleep Again", they went with someone actually from the series, and it's an neat movie. I could have done without the opening and closing "segments" though, since they don't offer anything to a documentary. It has Corey Feldman and a number of people around a fire, and he tells them about Jason, in an attempt to get the right mood going. That's fine. But after the documentary we're left with a few pointless minutes that show them all dead except Corey, and him putting on the mask and swinging the machete towards the screen. I mean, it wasn't needed. It's not like they had to fill the documentary with more footage! Although, that reminds me of another point - I'd love to see more behind the scenes footage from the early films. It has some, but more would've been great, but that's a bit much to ask as well, considering the age. Hell, they don't even have the cut gore scenes, so the odds of a lot of behind the scenes? Not likely. At least we get some!
It's safe to say that I enjoyed "Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th" more than I enjoy the actual series now. I used to love the series, and Jason Voorhees was one of my earlier idols, so I do watch this with great nostalgia. I still appreciate the series for what it is, and the documentary does a fantastic job showing why the series got so popular. The more you like each entry, the more you will enjoy watching that part of the documentary. The lesser entries are quite boring at times, but they had to go through them all so what did I expect? Overall, I was really entertained by this, and the 400 minutes felt like at least half of that. Which is a good thing! I just hope that the filmmakers won't go into the "Hellraiser" or "Halloween" series, because frankly I wouldn't care. And that's coming from someone who likes them (at least the early ones). Enough rambling about that - go get this documentary if you are a fan, or have been a fan, of the "Friday the 13th" series. It's a great purchase!
P.S. No ratings for this one, since it's "just" a documentary about a movie series. There's plenty of gore and nudity in the series, and they show a lot of it.